A Roaster’s Guide To Creating Your Own Coffee Blends
18th June 2019
Coffee blends are something every roaster should master, especially those owning coffee shops and looking to improve their coffee menu.
Creating new coffee blends is never easy, but when following the right guide, anything is possible. You will also need to have knowledge of which coffees to mix, how to roast beans of different origins, varieties, densities and more.
Blending is a process most roasters will be encouraged to try at least once. The reasons why most roasters create blends is because consumers demand a flavour profile that is repeatable and consistent all year-round. Creating your own blend will also encourage you to better define your brand and draw customers back again and again. The three major reasons for blending is to reduce costs, provide a consistent cup profile and create unique, signature coffees. Blending coffee makes sense for large commercial roasters who are looking to improve the consistency of their coffee and improve on body and flavour.
Combining different coffee blends adds greater balance and complexity to your coffee shop menu, as well as highlighting speciality coffee notes and flavour profiles. It is impossible to master the art of coffee blending overnight, but with the right skills and resources, you will be a blending expert in no time.
Who Can Lease Commercial Coffee Machines?
Leases are restricted to companies that are well established, so you will need to have an impressive credit score and have been trading for at least 3 years. If you have a poor credit score, you are at risk of being rejected, unless you a director’s guarantor.
Commercial coffee machine leases are 100% tax deductible whereas outright machine purchases are not. Choosing a shorter lease means higher monthly payments, but with the advantage of ending the lease sooner, or the option or extend the lease. Leasing a coffee machine is just like buying a machine outright, except you get to test the machine first, which is especially handy for new coffee shops who don’t yet know what coffee take-up with their customers will be.
Choosing the Right Coffee Beans
Choosing the right coffee beans is essential for creating the perfect blend. Understanding the subtleties of a coffee from Kenya that is fruity and bright, in comparison to a coffee from Columbia that is nutty and slightly acidic can make all the difference in the world. The two most common types of coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica coffee accounts for over 70% of all coffee beverages and is a highly flavourful coffee, grown in Ethiopia and Kenya. Robusta coffee is mostly cultivated in Asia and is a more acidic and bitter tasting coffee, used for blended coffees like Kona and Java.
It is a good idea to have one variety of coffee bean as the base which will account for 50% of your blend. Next, you will want to choose another coffee bean that complements the first. The blueberry flavours in Ethiopian coffee would be an ideal pairing with a chocolaty Brazilian coffee bean. Try to choose a pair that will not attempt to overpower the other in terms of flavour. A tobacco flavour Nicaraguan coffee for example, would overpower your Ethiopian coffee, making blending the two futile.
There are a variety of factors to consider when selecting a coffee including origin, region, variety, altitude and processing. These factors will determine the coffee’s flavour profiles, acidity levels and aromas. If you want a balanced coffee, or a bright acidic one, then choose Arabica beans. If you want a bitter tasting coffee that showcases intrinsic flavours from a particular origin, then choose a type of Robusta beans.
How Much Coffee Should You Blend?
We recommend you make no more than five coffees per blend. Each coffee should make up at least 8% of the final product. When you make espresso, you grind 17g of coffee, which is on average over a hundred coffee beans.
Coffee can be brewed in larger batches. When you brew it is important to think about the purpose of the blend and how it will be served.
How To Choose Component Coffees or Blends
Your final product should be distinctive and should be unique to your preferred tastes. Here are some key components for choosing your coffee blend. It is helpful to know what flavours you like and how they best work together. To do this, you can list the origins of the coffees you incorporate into your blends to help make an informed choice among them.
- A sweet base note: Your coffee will need to take on browning flavours. For a coffee high in sweetness try Brazil, Peru or Mexico coffee beans.
- Mid-palate satisfaction: The mid-palate requires something juicy with plenty of malic acid; think flavour notes of apple, peach or stone fruit. You may want to consider a Costa Rica, Colombia or Guatemala coffee.
- High notes: This comes from the kinds of coffees that can be roasted light and will take on citric acidity and floral notes, which you will find in Kenyan or Ethiopian coffee beans.
How to Select Your Blend Ratio
You should start by using 40% sweet base note, 40% mid-palate and 20% high notes. Slowly tweak these ratios during the process until you are satisfied with your flavour profile. You may want to roast the component coffees separately in small batches, then brew them together and combine the liquid coffee at different ratios, i.e. 40:40:20, 30:30:40 or 60:20:20.
Equipment You Will Need to Blend Like A Pro
There are a few things you will need to start blending your own coffee.
- A variety of coffee beans ranging in flavour profiles
- A measuring spoon or scoop
- A coffee maker
- Coffee grinder
- Filtered water for a great cup of coffee
- A medium sized bowl to help mix your blend
- A notepad (to write down all those blend ratios!)
Creating Your Own Blends
Now you have some of the crucial components needed to create your own signature blend, the next step is to piece it all together. Here is a step by step guide of how to create your own blend.
- Start with a base coffee you like that is brewed the way you typically brew your coffee.
- Think about what you might add to improve the taste. A hint of cocoa or cinnamon? More sweetness? Choose a second coffee that has these qualities.
- Next, choose a third coffee and a fourth – up to five coffees maximum to prevent from cancelling out the benefits of blending.
- Brew a cup of each coffee and transfer them to insulated, covered vessels to keep the coffee hot.
- Once you have all of your coffee samples brewed, start mixing and keep a running list of the ratios you use. For example, pour 3 ounces of coffee in one cup and add 1 ounce of a second coffee in the same cup. Adjust the proportions to highlight the qualities you want to accent.
- Once you have a blend ratio you like, mix roasted beans in the same ration and brew to see if it retains its qualities. If it does, then you have successfully created your very own artisan blend, congratulations!
Creating your own artisan blend as a coffee Roaster is a rewarding and educational experience. By experimenting with different blends you can perfect your espresso to achieve an exceptional coffee made up of crema, flavour, acidity, body and aftertaste.